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Fourth Examination of the Draft of the Food Safety Law to Take Place at the End of February

26 February 2009 513 views No Comment

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will begin the fourth examination of a draft Food Safety Law in late February 2009.  The draft Food Safety Law is based on the Food Hygiene Law, which was promulgated in October 1995.  The Food Hygiene Law will be repealed at the time the Food Safety Law is implemented. 

The Food Safety Law makes improvements on China’s food hygiene safety system in the following ways, many of which arose as a response to the “Sanlu baby formula” scandal:

  1. Establishing a food safety risk monitoring and evaluating system, and utilizing the evaluation results as an important basis for formulating food safety standards and identifying countermeasures for controlling food-borne diseases;

  2. Establishing quality safety-related systems for every food producing sector for precaution purposes, including food manufacturing, processing, packaging, transporting, storage, sales;

  3. Establishing a food-manufacturing business license system, a records inspection system, a food labeling system, and a system for recalling dangerous foods;

  4. Increasing food manufacturers’ responsibility as the primary entities for ensuring food safety.  Increasing the punishment for illegal acts committed by food manufacturers;

  5. Enhancing imported and exported food quality management.  Foods, food additives and related products imported into China should meet China’s national standards for food safety.   Exported food should meet the compulsory requirements of importing into the country and/or region and should be inspected as on entry and exit.  Exported food will also be under the supervision of quarantine authority; 

  6. Improving the food safety supervision system by defining the local government’s role in supervising food safety and empowering the administrative authority to enforce regulations;

  7. Establishing an efficient and convenient channel for remedying violations of consumers’ rights.  Consumers may report acts of infringement of consumer rights and interests for prosecution and receive compensation; and

  8. Establishing a food safety information publication system.

Normally, the Standing Committee will hold a formal vote after a legislative bill has been reviewed three times.  However, after the SCNPC’s third reading of the Draft Food Safety Law in October 2008, there were remaining concerns regarding the bill’s implementation of food- monitoring and quality supervising systems.  Thus, the Standing Committee’s Council of Chairmen announced further deliberation on the draft and proposed not putting the bill up for vote for the time being.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress stated that the main goal of the Draft Food Safety Law is to “give priority to prevention” by creating stricter regulations over the production, processing, packaging, transportation and sale of food.

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